If you're driving into the Keys from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Café Moka makes the perfect light breakfast stop. On the Overseas Highway in Tavernier, this classic European café features macaroons imported from France, quality pastries, baguettes, and strong espresso. Don't forget that the café serves fresh salads, sandwiches, and gelato, and free WiFi is also available.
Local Expert tip: Arrive early if you'd like to try ham and cheese quiche or the almond croissants and scones - they disappear quickly.
The aroma of freshly-baked bread will lure you into this bakery near the entrance to Old Town. Filled with to-die-for artisan breads, bagels and sandwiches, Cole's serves breakfast and lunch until 2:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For breakfast, they offer cheese toast (with ham or bacon) on fresh-baked Cuban bread, muffins, sticky-buns, croissants and cafe con leche. For lunch, you'll find soups and generous sandwiches that come with your choice of chips, coleslaw or potato salad and a small sweet treat. Don't miss their delicious specials like blackened free range chicken with balsamic on ciabatta bread or chili and tomato soup. Be sure to take a loaf of the cinnamon-raisin or signature mango bread home with you. They're best served warm with butter or cream cheese. Warning: you may quickly become addicted to their cranberry pistachio cookies.
Recommended for Bakeries because: Cole's serves up breakfast and lunch filled with their freshly-baked artisan breads, pastries and sandwiches. Don't miss the mango bread or cranberry pistachio cookies.
Claudia's expert tip: They only have a few tables, but you can find extra seating at the large chef's table inside the adjacent Restaurant Store.
If you're getting an early start on your trip back from Key West, be sure to stop by the Sugarloaf Food Company, at mile marker 24 on Summerland Key. For breakfast, enjoy gooey cinnamon and pecan rolls, fresh coffee and juice, and ham egg and cheese croissants. Or, bring back Key Lime pistachio and ginger cookies, classics like chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, or Key Lime pies and coconut bars. The challenge is
Local Expert tip: Be aware that they are closed Sundays.
Cookies and cakes and caramel, oh my! Right next to Mallory Square, Sweets in Paradise lures in tourists with the smell of freshly baking cookies lures. The shop offers free samples and tastings, and tempting treats like key lime and peanut butter fudge (which is sold by the pound), and awesome, half-pound oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies.
Local Expert tip: Be sure to check out the second floor for additional shopping.
If you're in Key West for a special occasion, Cakes by Karol can design a beautiful, memorable, and delicious cake for any event. These aren't your average cakes – they are works of art and were featured on the television series "Extreme Makeover" and "In Touch" magazine. Choose from flavors like chocolate, coconut, banana, white chocolate, and fillings like strawberry, key lime, and dulce de leche. If that isn't tempting enough top your cake off with vanilla and almond buttercream. Yum.
Local Expert tip: Reserve a date as soon as you know it. Karol is a busy lady!
Five blocks from Duval is a pastry-lovers dream, with a display window is loaded with cakes, tarts, éclairs, sticky buns, cookies, and brownies. Each morning they whip up baskets of freshly baked bread, and light, flakey chocolate croissants. Cakes made to order, and their lunch items are equally as impressive: try roast beef drip with French bread, a turkey sandwich with Applewood bacon and buttermilk dressing, or a build your own sandwich. Call ahead to see what pastries are left – they sell out quickly!
Local Expert tip: They offer free delivery with a purchase of $8 or more.
Ask a local where to find the best Key Lime Pie in Key West and you'll get a few different responses, but Kermit's supplies many of the stores with this tasty treat. Stop by to try samples of their specialty key lime sauces, ranging from wing sauce to curry sauce, or try the famous Key Lime on a stick that's dipped in Belgian chocolate. The store also stock candy, jams, t-shirts, and bath products, but no visit would be complete without taking a little "slice" of Key West home with you. They recently added a second location at 802 Duval Street.
Local Expert tip: Once you run out of Key Lime supplies from your trip, you can also purchase items online.
The owner of this cake shop dabbled in painting and jewelry design before settling into a more edible craft. The bakery also offers croissants made fresh daily from scratch with an array of in a variety of sweet and savory flavors including ham and cheese, spinach feta cheese, chicken, raspberry, and coconut cream cheese. The pastry chef, Paola also whips up fruit sculptures, cookie baskets, cupcakes, candies, and more.
Local Expert tip: If you can think it, they can create it.
Situated on Duval Street, Croissants de France offers a beautiful, relaxing patio to enjoy one of their many tasty treats. Part bakery, part bistro, this popular restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner items with a French flair. For breakfast, expect benedicts, French toast, and crepes in addition to fresh baked croissants, beignets, and gluten free products. At lunch, the menu expands to include quiches, paninis, and homemade sandwiches.
Local Expert tip: They have cakes too!
Steven and Paul of Key West Cakes have a knack for the little ones - cupcakes that is! Classics like red velvet, blondie, strawberry, chocolate chip, and peanut butter are dressed to the nines with smooth, flavorful frosting and decorations. You'll also find cookies, muffins, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Cake flavors range from coffee, passion fruit, coconut cream, German chocolate, carrot, French vanilla, and many more.
Local Expert tip: Cake samples are available.